Earthworks | Antiparos Reformed


Earthworks was shown at the Benaki Museum in 2009 within the context of an exhibition entitled: The Residence in Greece, from the 20th to the 21st Century. It presented the first 4 homes that we designed and completed, which are all on the island of Antiparos. The design of the first home (Crater) started in 2001 while the construction of the fourth home (Cliffhanger) finished in 2007.


Location Antiparos, Greece
Model Making:
Kyle Gudsell, Stephanos Nassopoulos
Book Design:
Elena Zabeli
Katerina Chrysanthopoulou, Benoît Durandin
Erieta Attali
MDF Contours
Pafos S.A.

They have been formed by molding large quantities of earth.
They have been carved into the land.
Earth conceals a large part of their volumes.
Earth protects their exterior spaces from the wind.
Earth insulates their roofs.
They are Earthworks.


Crater was the first home that we ever designed. It is located on the top of a hill, enjoying an incredible panoramic view of the Cycladic archipelago. The hilltop location created two basic challenges for the design: First, we needed to protect the exterior living areas from strong Northern winds and second, we had to avoid the ‘cherry on top of a cake’ effect, concealing the visible volume of the house. The concept of a Crater was ideally suited to confront both challenges. The main exterior areas of the house were dug out from the top of a hill, as if a volcano had erupted. This sunken veranda enjoys a beautiful sunset view while being protected from the prevailing northern winds. A small guest house is located further down, linked to the sunken veranda through a carved path that passes under the lap pool, as if lava flowed down the hill westwards.


Aloni reinterprets the vernacular stone walls that shaped the landscape of the Aegean, creating a stepped landscape that provided flat areas for agricultural use. It is a vacation home located at a saddle of the landscape, where two hills meet. Two long stone walls bridge the hills allowing the house to nestle in the saddle while maintaining a continuity of the earth that passes over it. This simple strategy blurs the edges of the house and conceals its profile within the broader skyline of the island.


Helix is a curious departure from a typical courtyard house. It is placed on a slope that heads diagonally towards a ravine. The volume of the house wraps around itself, negotiating the slope by gradually descending towards the ground. The volume begins as a cantilever that bridges over a lap pool. After a sequence of three 90 degree turns it digs into the ground and wraps underneath the cantilever, creating an interior court that faces towards the sea.


Cliffhanger is a sequence of rectangular volumes and verandas that run parallel to the slope. It is situated on a steep hill that faces directly towards the sea and the horizon. A stone wall flanks the house. The wall retains earth to create flat inhabitable plains. The wall start short and perpendicular to the floor. As it moves towards the West, it increases in height and gradually tilts backwards.

Antiparos Reformed

Antiparos Reformed is a short animation that we prepared for the exhibition at the Benaki Museum. It describes the factors that influenced the spurt of development in Antiparos during the six years that we were involved in the Earthworks houses. It imagines a dystopian imaginary future where the trend of unplanned development continues beyond the bearing capacity of the island.

These four black and white large prints, by photographer Erieta Attali, were exhibited over the large physical model of the earthworks project.



For the occasion of the exhibition we designed, printed and bound a hand made book entitled ‘Earthworks’ in 15 copies. The books contains images and drawings that describe the processes of design and construction.

‘Earthworks’ had an interesting impact on the latest version of the Greek building code.

In 2012 a committee from the ministry of the Environment visited our studio. They were encharged with drafting the New Greek Building code and they wanted to pick our brains in order to provide incentives for future designs to use earth in order to minimize their visual impact. The result of their endeavor was the ‘yposkafa’ law, the most significant change of the new Greek Building Code, which allows buildings that are completely covered by earth to be twice as big as buildings that are not.